Monday, June 30, 2014

Just over a Year of Chicken Raising

It's been just over a year since we brought home these cute and fluffy little chicks.

Now look at them!

All grown up and laying the most delicious eggs. 

I'm so proud!!

So far we've had one, Luna, who began to pluck the feathers of her coop mates.

 It seems to have been the result of frustration over being "cooped up" for so long due to the never ending winter. 

Once the weather improved and they were released to run free in the garden, the plucking of her coop mates came to a end. -whew-

Then this girl, Pookie, became broody, determined to sit on a little clutch of eggs, expecting to hatch herself some babies. 

Have you ever come face to face with a broody chicken? It's not pretty! Fluffed up to three times her actual size, she'd growl at any who dared approach her! Yes, growled! Not pretty at all! There were never going to be any baby chicks in need of defending. But try explaining the lack of a rooster, and therefore a lack of fertilized eggs, to a growling, broody chicken. She pretty much had every other chicken afraid to get anywhere near the nesting boxes. -BAH-

It took two days of being separated from the other chickens, far from the nesting boxes, for her to give up the fight and return to her happy, mild mannered self.

Otherwise, these girls have been easy to care for and lots of fun for the Family.

The biggest job so far has been the spring cleaning of the coop. 

Daily cleaning is quick and easy; scoop out the mess, wash and refill waterer, refill feeder. 15 minutes. Boom! Done! Easy peasy!

Every other week or so, mostly as needed, the coop gets a vinegar spritz and a scrubbing or a hose down, as well as a change of nesting box material. 30-45 minutes. Piece of cake!

Spring cleaning the coop is a different story. The coop was a mess after the long winter. -Ewwww-

While the coop was still scooped out daily, a good scrub down was simply impossible during the winter freeze.

So, the first warm, spring day, the sleeves were rolled up, more figuratively than actually, and we got to work.

The ramp and roosts were removed from the coop. The washed river sand in the coop house was also removed and disposed of.

Everything got a good hose down,

as well as a good scrub down with vinegar!

Once everything was nice and clean and smelling vinegary, new washed river sand was spread over the coop house floor and in the coop run.

It was a solid afternoon's worth of work, but doesn't that look nice!?

The girls were very happy!

I'm as excited about our little flock of chickens today as I was the day we brought them home.

A little flock is pretty easy to maintain, and I'm still absolutely giddy every time I collect a handful of fresh eggs!

One year later, I'd do it all again!


Monday, June 23, 2014


Ahhh the Peony.

One of the first bursts of color in my winter weary flower garden.

It's a delight the way their giant blooms sway in the breeze like heads bobbing to music.

They are magnificent!

One bouquet fills the entire house with glorious fragrance! I may have cut a bouquet for every room anyway!!

It always amazes me how long these gorgeous blooms last. 

They show no signs of wilting. 

Then one day, when you least expect it...

Every petal drops! Done! Kaput! -sigh- But they sure are something while they last!

I'd cut a few more but the recent rain smashed every bobbing head face down into the ground.

So sad!

Oh the rain! It never seems to end here. AHHH!! Utterly frustrating as the water now seeps into our basement. Grrr!

Makes me that much more grateful for the few days of glorious, joyful blooms bobbing and swaying in the garden!




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Deja Vu

Oh yes, this was definitely familiar! You can read about the first time we went through this process with Miss Sofia if you click on the link for Today's the Day.

This morning it was Miss Emma Bean's turn.

The getting up early - not nearly as early as last time. I learned my lesson!

I may have stopped for a mocha anyway. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do! Right??

There was the same excited anticipation. I'm not sure I understand that, but oh well.

The only real difference is that, this time, I tried to take a photo of the process. The horrified look in Miss Emma Bean's eyes and the small, but very insistent shakes of her head caused me to swiftly tuck the camera away. 

The lesson I haven't fully learned...when it is not appropriate, in their opinion, to photograph my teenage daughters. I now know that while their mouths are propped open with some crazy dental device...NOT APPROPRIATE!! My bad. 

Mostly the process went just as smoothly for Miss Emma Bean as it did for Miss Sofia.

My baby got braces!!

Another thing that is all too familiar, my poor girl's mouth is now so sore! It's a good thing we have some of her favorite ice cream on hand! And because I love her, and want to take good care of her, and don't want her to have to suffer any more than she already is, I'm willing to eat all of the big cookie chunks for her. That's what we moms do right!? Anything for the well being of our babies!!

And just like her sister, Miss Emma Bean is cute as can be!!

Not little kid cute, but the cool teenager kind of cute!! Just to be clear.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Let Them Fall

Yesterday marked one year from my beloved friend Amy's death.

It was a very difficult weekend, difficult week actually.

One year from the trip to the hospital because she had become so very weak.

One year from returning home with hospice in place.

One year from holding her hand, crying, and saying goodbye because her liver was failing.

One year of learning to do life without this friend who was daily a part of mine.

So many of these memories came flooding back last week in dreams, in moments of panic.

I didn't intend to write about it! At this one year anniversary the grief came in torrents like the rain that fell over the weekend. How could I share that? What does that say about my faith if this grief could be so strong?

Recently, a woman that I very much respect said we need to take care of ourselves. We can not help or support others if we do not take care of ourselves. 

With this in mind, as I struggled through last week - my friends, there were so many times that my breath would catch, my heart would begin to pound, and I would call out in prayer to the Lord asking that He would calm me and give me peace. Oh how I cried to Him that my heart ached! - I finally told the Husband that I needed to just work quietly in the garden on Sunday. I needed the peace, the distraction from my sorrow. I believed this was the way to "take care of myself."

Remember how I said my tears came in torrents like the rain? So much for working in the garden for distraction! Oh the rain that fell Saturday night! 

Instead of working in the garden on Sunday, the Husband and I planted, in the mud, a single rose bush in memory, and he allowed me to weep and pour out my hurt, without trying to fix it! God's work indeed! I had also met with a very precious friend for coffee Saturday morning. She too allowed me to share my sorrow in words and tears. She listened with such an understanding heart as she too deals with grief from her own painful loss. My friends, I believe these moments were perfectly orchestrated by God to allow me to release my sorrow and be comforted.

I needed to let the tears fall freely.

I woke this morning aware that God had, in His great compassion and love, provided me with exactly what I needed over the weekend. 

God does not expect us to be sorrow free.

God says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden (weary), and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

He says we can cast our burden on Him, He will sustain us! Psalm 55:22a

He has born our grief and carried our sorrows! Isaiah 53:4

In the day of trouble, I called upon God and He delivered me! And I shall glorify Him!! Psalm 50:15

So today I share my suffering. I share so that you too may know that God will meet you in your sorrow. He will hear your cry and provide exactly what you need. He will not turn away from you because your pain is too great. It can never be more than He can or has carried. 

God does not measure our faith on whether or not we are sad and grieve. He says bring it to me and trust that I am big enough, mighty enough, compassionate enough to care for you in it.

I praise His name for God is good!!!